Ron Rivera referring to Greg Hardy as The Kraken took a long road.
The no-nonsense coach likely turned a couple heads with the mention,
but the credit goes to Hardy.
For one, nothing happens without exceptional play, and Hardy has
brought that. He's cleaned up his 2011 run issues, playing smarter.
His 2012 bulk did, as I hoped and suggested, foreshadow a good '12 and a
breakout '13. It didn't hurt that he had 7 sacks, more than most
players have in a year, in the final two critical games. Hardy is
peaking at the right time.
That said, he had to overcome a bit. Attitude, for one. Battling
through injury after an impressive junior year, Hardy went from surefire
first rounder to hardcore unknown as a senior, eventually going in the
sixth round when he scared a lot of scouts with his bizarre attitude and
Meanwhile, once he landed here in Carolina, behind guys like Charles
Johnson and Tyler Brayton (starters) and heir apparent Everette Brown,
there wasn't a ton of opportunity - not like he was ready for it - so
the rookie started getting known for his athleticism. Baby Pep was the
nickname, and not of his design. His measurables and moodiness
apparently reminded players of Julius Peppers, and it started to be hard
It didn't hurt that Hardy was able to play special teams gunner at 280
lbs, often beating DBs downfield.
Sometimes when you don't like what's being said, you can change the
conversation. Despite the nutty distractions off the field, Hardy has
done his greatest talking on the gridiron.